Approximately an 1 hour 30 minutes ferry ride South of Krabi are the islands of Koh Phi-Phi. The approach from sea is breathtakingly handsome as the islands rise above the horizon of the turquoise waters.
Phi Phi are two islands (Koh Phi-Phi Don and Koh Phi-Phi Lei) that are married by a flat sandy stretch built with shops, restaurants and budget hotels. The vast majority of the tourist accommodation is crammed here, as is the islands wild nightlife, with just a few alternatives scattered along eastern coasts.
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most popular tourist islands in Thailand. From the famous of Maya Bay (Leonardo DiCaprio movie: The Beach) to the monkeys on the aptly named “Monkey Beach” to the diving, nightlife, and resorts, Phi Phi is one of the biggest destinations in the country.
Destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, the island has been rebuilt and developed to an even greater extent than before. Though I have had a lot of fun here, I am not the biggest fan of Koh Phi Phi. I find it too built up and touristy. It has become very overdeveloped and ruined, but thousands of people visit each year and love it. So do not just take my advice, visit for yourself and decide.
Have some cash readily available once you land on Phi-Phi. You have to pay a BHT400 (GB£7.35/US$9.30) ‘Tourist fee’ that is meant to go towards keeping the island clean, as the island is classed as a protected Marine area.
Nightlife here is crazy. Fire shows and Thai boxing matches are a regular occurrence at the beach bars. Often times, there are massive beach parties. For live music, make your way to the fantastically named Rolling Stoned Bar. Partying is not cheap here and is one of the reasons people end up spending too much money here!
DIVE THE KING CRUSADER WRECK:
One of the best dive sites off Koh Phi Phi is the King Cruiser wreck. The passenger ship sunk in 1997 when it hit the Anemone reef. This site is packed with fish including clown fish, tuna and barracuda, not to mention the sea anemones that cling to every surface of the reef. Keep an eye out for the occasional leopard shark.
FEED THE SHARKS:
One of the most popular trips out of Koh Phi Phi is an early morning excursion to feed sharks. A six hour trip will start at about 800 THB and will have you feeding black tip and leopard sharks. Most tours also include visits to coral gardens for snorkelling, where you will be likely to see leopard and black-tipped reef sharks. For free, head to the little rocky inlet of Hin Phae, at the Eastern end of Long Beach.
SNORKEL IN MAYA BAY:
Famous for its starring role in the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, Maya Bay is on Koh Phi Leh and is usually included with all the island/snorkelling trips you see advertised. For those who want to see the place without lots of boats and people, you can spend a night on the island. It’s a far better way to experience the seclusion of this place. The beach is stunning, with 100 metre high cliffs on three sides of the beach. Tours start from 3,500 THB per person.
HIKE TO PHI-PHI VIEW POINT
Walking the 20 minute trail up to the Viewpoint will be rewarded by an amazing panoramic view of Phi Phi Le and Phi Phi Don. The Viewpoint is over 600 feet high, so you will need to be reasonably fit to get here. The hike can be a strenuous one, with hundreds of steps and twisty path, but your camera will thank you! The best time to go is at sunset or sunrise.
Monkey Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, not just Koh Phi Phi. Powder white sands and excellent diving makes this a popular spot but one of the coolest things about it is the monkeys that come down to the beach. They are pretty tame and you can feed them!
Accommodation is plentiful in Phi-Phi. The vast majority are dorms or 2* hostels but of recent years there has been an investment in building mid-range hotels, some cater beach huts.
The hotel I stayed in was only a short 5 minute walk from the pier where the ferry made berth. The accommodation was basic but it provided a sound nights sleep and offered stunning views of the bay from its infinity pool.
The sunsets on this side of the island were breathtaking.
MONKEY BEACH BAR
Monkey Beach Bar is located on Loh Dalam beach, facing the beautiful rocky peaks bathed in the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. The bar is entirely built in bamboo, right on the sand. Reggae music (not too loud) creates a relaxing atmosphere. Let yourself be tempted by some of the best fruit shakes on the island.